This page provides written and visual instructions on How to Grow Eggplant. For the purpose of this page we will be using the Orient Express F1.
The Orient Express Hybrid is an outstanding early eggplant. Attractive, slender, 8-10", glossy black fruits in the long Oriental style.
In the picture above are some of the eggplants we have harvested.
How do you know when they are ready for harvest? Take your thumb and press on them gently. If the skin gives and then comes back, it is ready.
If you cannot push it down then it is still too hard. If it goes way down then it is over done. I grew the Eggplant in my greenhouse. I did not have any insect or disease problems. They came out just like they are supposed to.
Ready up to 2 weeks before other early varieties, it features an ability to set fruit in cool weather as well as under heat stress. Tender, delicately flavored, and quick cooking. Purple calyx.
The Orient Express is an Eggplant that can be grown in a greenhouse. That is where we are growing ours.
Plant Cycle: Annual
Days to Maturity: 58
CULTURE: Sow in flats indoors in early April, or 8 weeks prior to planting out, 4 seeds/in., 1/4" deep. If possible, maintain 80-90°F soil temp. until emergence, and 70°F thereafter.
Seed will not germinate in cool soil. After true leaves form, thin to 2-3" apart in flats or transplant into 2-3" pots or plug trays. To harden plants reduce water and temperature to about 60°F for about a week before planting out.
The picture below is of the Orient Express. They are now about four weeks old. How to Grow Eggplant will continue to provide more updates as the plants grow.
Transplant outdoors in mid-June or whenever weather has thoroughly settled. Eggplants are tender, and cold weather may weaken them. Use row covers for a real boost in performance and insect control. Space transplants 18" apart in rows 30-36" apart, or 2 rows on poly mulch, 18-24" between plants.
STAKING: Eggplants may be pruned and staked like tomatoes to keep the fruits straight.
DISEASE: Practice lengthy crop rotation to avoid verticillium wilt.
INSECT PESTS: Fabric row covers are effective insect pest control. Control flea beetles on newly set transplants with pyrethrin or rotenone. Regularly check undersides of leaves and crush any orange egg masses of the Colorado potato beetles or control with BT biological insecticide.
HARVEST: Clip fruit stem with shears. Pick fruits of desired size regularly to encourage further production.
How to grow eggplant means knowing that eggplant likes hot weather. Plant after the last day of frost for your region. Plants often are started indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost date, and transplanted as the weather warms in the spring. A second setting in mid summer, is often started outdoors.
For outdoors planting, select a sunny location. Eggplants like full sun. Sow seeds very shallow, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch.
Before planting, make sure your soil is rich with compost or other soil additive. Don't forget the worms. The soil will need to be kept moist as with almost all vegetable plants.
Mulch or lay down a weed barrier around the plants to add nutrients and for moisture retention.
Begin to harvest eggplants as soon as the first fruit reaches a desirable size. Keep picking them and do not let them get too big. When it comes to vegetables, larger is not always better. By continuous harvesting, you will encourage more fruit to set all the way to frost.
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